STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - September 21, 2006)
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
By Mr. SANTORUM:
S. 3926. A bill to provide for the energy, economic, and national security of America, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I gave a speech a couple weeks ago about the situation in the Middle East. I want to just do a reprise of that in brief to discuss the context of introducing today what we call the Empower America: Securing America's Energy Future Act.
It comes from the basis that I believe we are facing in this country--a threat. We are, in my opinion, already in the very early stages of a world war. We can act now to make this threat--which I believe is a serious one but not yet fully actualized--less severe if we do certain things. One of them, as you will hear at the conclusion of my remarks, will be focusing on our energy situation here at home.
One of the things I hear as a frustration of so many people I talk to in Pennsylvania is they look at the conflicts we are in in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places in the world, and they don't see an end or a strategy of how we succeed. I suggest that part of that strategy is in creating energy security and developing a whole host of energy resources in this country so that we are not dependent upon--or as dependent upon foreign sources of energy and that we develop the new technologies that will allow America to continue to grow and keep prices down, and not just because I want to keep them down for consumers, which is great, but so we are not providing enormous riches for people to develop nuclear weapons and turn around and harm the United States and our allies.
I believe the threat we face can be analyzed in a three-pronged approach. As I said on the floor last week or the week before, we face a threat, an enemy most people refer to as terrorists. I do not refer to them as terrorists; I refer to them as who they are: radical Islamic fascists. They have an ideology. These are not people who kill for the purpose of killing. They don't kill because of hatred. They kill because they have a belief, an objective.
I know that for a year or two, the President, right after 9/11, referred to these terrorists as ``cowards.'' I notice that he doesn't do that anymore. I don't know of anybody who does that anymore. There is a reason: They are not cowards at all. These are people with great conviction. Some would even say that, in a demented way, they have great courage. But they are certainly not cowards. Calling them cowards gives the wrong impression to the American people that we are fighting a foe who is afraid of us or afraid of something. The problem is they seem to be afraid of very little when it comes to this world. They are willing to give up their lives. In fact, they want to give up their lives, and their objective, by the way, is to take as many other lives in the process. The object in this war is not territory; the object of this war is submission and death.
So we are not dealing with a group of cowards. When we tell the American public we are dealing with cowards, they don't think this is a serious enemy that can defeat us. America would never lose to a group of cowards. But we can lose to a group of fanatical, zealous Islamists, who have a clear mission and a clear methodology by which to accomplish that mission.
These are people who are very serious about what they want to do, whether it is radical Sunnis or radical Shias. They have an objective and a common enemy--as does the radical left, represented so comically, in my opinion, so ridiculously, by the speech of Hugo Chavez yesterday at the United Nations. What do Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad, President of Iran, and Hugo Chavez have in common? Nothing except their hatred of everything this country holds dear--freedom, democracy, and individual human rights. That is what they hate. I would suggest they have as much in common as Mussolini and Hitler and Tojo. They had very little in common ideologically. The Japanese believed in the superiority of the Japanese race and wanted to conquer and rule the world. Hitler didn't believe in that, but they formed an alliance because there was a common enemy.
That is the case here. We are seeing it. It is, hopefully, a frightening sight put on display over the last couple of days at the United Nations, as this character of a President, this ridiculous diatribe Hugo Chavez presented to the U.N. received applause from many around the world--most leaders around the world. This is a serious threat. We can look at it and put it in political terms and say we went to war for the wrong reason and this or that wasn't true. But that is looking in the rearview mirror when we have a huge threat. So they have an ideology and a common enemy.
Secondly, they have a very effective methodology by which to conduct this war. It is one that doesn't require the kind of coordination and resources a traditional military campaign would require. They don't need to conquer land, to hold ground; they simply need to kill people every day. And they do--every day. And we cover it in America every day. American people watch it every day. And every day, the resolve of the American people is eroded. The resolve of the American people is eroded because--I will use the words of Osama bin Laden--because we Americans love life and the radical Islamists love death. That is how he said he would defeat us, because of America's and the West's love for life and respect for life, their attachment to this world, to the modern world, and the radical Islamist's attachment not to this world at all but to death, which, in their minds, means life--a better life with Allah. That is their objective, their methodology. Their methodology is to prey upon what they believe is the weakness of America, what they believe is the weakness of the West, which is the fact that we respect life, love life, we have human rights, and we believe in freedom. We believe it is our objective in this world to make it a better world. They don't care about that at all. So terror is a uniquely effective tactic that fits well into their culture of death and is particularly effective against our culture of life.
In addition, they are trying to develop a new weapon; that is, a nuclear weapon. Iran has made it very clear and Chavez has announced his intention to develop a huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction to use, in the words of Ahmadi-Nejad, ``to wipe Israel off the face of the earth'' and use that weaponry to get the rest of the Western World to submit to their radical, fanatical brand of Islam.
This is their ultimate threat. This is the ultimate tactic of death and terror--to have a country that is committed publicly to using nuclear weapons not to defend itself, not to gain an earthly dominion over the world, but to cause mass chaos and destruction, in the case of Iran, for a religious purpose, because what they seek to accomplish is the return of the Hidden or 12th Imam. That is the 12th descendant of the Prophet Muhammad who, in the late 800s, went into hiding, according to the Shia religion, and is destined to return as the messiah of the Islamic faith at the end of times--the end of times meaning Armageddon. The interesting twist that the radical Shia project onto the world stage today is they believe it is their obligation to bring about the return of the Hidden or 12th Imam by causing a modern-day Armageddon. That is what they believe. You may not have heard this before, but let me assure you, that is what they believe. That is what they say. That is what they talk about all the time, that this is their objective. It is a messianic vision; they are being compelled by their faith.
Some pass it off as a bunch of dictators who are just using religion to prop themselves up, to maintain control, or to try to dominate bigger areas of the world. Well, that would be bad enough. That would be dangerous enough. But I think we underestimate them when we say that. I think we underestimate President Ahmadi-Nejad and the ruling mullahs of Iran when we say that. I believe they are true believers, and I don't think we can afford the luxury of not believing that they believe this. I don't think we can dismiss them as another group of two-bit tyrants. These are two-bit tyrants who have billions upon billions of dollars and have allies like North Korea, who have access to nuclear technology. They have scientists from Russia who left Russia because there is nothing for them to do, and they are in Tehran today developing rocketry and the nuclear capability to project that power.
Some would say I am beating the drums of war. No. I am accurately describing the situation at hand. Some disagree with me, and they are welcome to. Do you want to take that chance? Do you want to take the chance of having a nuclear weapon? They are clear about their intention of developing it. Do you want to take that chance? I don't.
How did this happen? Radical Islam has been present in the Middle East for a long time. We have not heard much from them except when? In the last 30, 40 years. Why? The price of oil. It is oil, to begin with, and now the high price of oil. It gives them the resources to not only feed the people to keep them in power but to produce weapons to project power. The only reason, again, they have those resources is because of this one three-letter word--oil--which brings me back to the beginning of this discussion.
If we are going to defeat radical fascist Islam, then we have to have a strategy to take resources away from them so they cannot project the power they can today. The only way to do that is by developing a more secure energy future for America and reducing our dependency on that oil, which would reduce the price of energy around the world. We need to encourage not only alternative energy production in this country; we have to do so around the world. We have to do so around the world by using alternative technology such as, for example, as I talk about in the bill, coal.
One of the greatest new energy consumers in the world is China. They don't have a lot of oil, but they have a lot of coal. So it is an opportunity for us, with coal to gas and coal to liquid fuels technology, developing and commercializing that technology. And it is not just going to be coal to liquid fuels, but if you talk to folks in the business who are developing these plants right now--and one is being developed in Pennsylvania, which I have been involved with--they believe they can use all sorts of organic matter, such as waste products, to blend in with the coal to be able to produce liquid fuel.
We need to have that technology in America, and they need to have that technology, and they are developing it, by the way, in China. We need to create from the vast amount of energy opportunities that we have in America and around the world new technologies so oil becomes less of a valuable commodity. This is one concrete way we can fight the war on radical Islamic fascism.
I have put together a bill that talks about making--it does, if it would be passed--a huge investment, a huge investment in alternative technologies, a huge investment in coal, a huge investment in renewables to create a more secure energy future for America. We can no longer talk about how we are going to do this or that we will do it at some future date. We must act now, quickly. We need to provide support for the commercialization of this technology. We are not going to see energy produced at $20 a barrel, the equivalent of oil. We are not going to see it done at $30 or $40 a barrel. It may be more expensive. We have to make sure we provide proper support in loan guarantees, incentives, and tax credits to make this a profitable venture and a secure venture for people to invest in.
This is not something that normally I have come to the Chamber and said that this is the Government's job. This is national security. This is not about subsidizing big business. This is about producing energy here for the security of our country. We either make the investment here or we pay a horrible price, human as well as financial, in the future.
We need to think big, and we need to think now. That is why--when I spoke about the comments the Senator from Louisiana made before I came to the floor on opening up OCS--it is unconscionable for us to look at the national security situation we look at today, to look at the subsidies we are providing to our enemies and say: Oh, oh, we can't explore for oil in Alaska or OCS. Oh, we are worried about the environment.
I am worried about the environment, too. In my State of Pennsylvania, in the western part of our State, we drill 3,000 gas wells a year--3,000--on farms, in neighborhoods, outside neighborhoods, in people's backyards. At Oakmont Country Club, which is where the U.S. Open is going to be played, they are going to drill a gas well right next to Oakmont Country Club. That is pretty much an environmental area. Nobody wants to pollute Oakmont Country Club. We are going to drill a gas well there.
Yet there are people on this floor who won't drill those wells in Alaska where nobody goes, where nobody is. As a result, our country is at risk. We feed an enemy huge resources to combat us in their attempt to destroy us. It is unconscionable for us, a country that produces oil and gas cleaner and more efficiently than any other country in the world, to allow our enemy to hold us, not just hostage, but to gain resources to destroy us because we placate an interest group who funds, campaigns, and influences voters.
I know many in this Chamber and many in this country do not believe we are at war or do not believe this war is serious. Time will tell. I think, unfortunately, time will tell us in a relatively short period of time how serious this is, and we will look back on this time as we stood year after year for the past 10 years twiddling our thumbs, not doing what we can do to provide a more secure energy future for this country, and we will look back in horror of the blinders, of the scales we had on our eyes that we could not see the threat before us.
We must do something. The bill I am introducing today is a comprehensive package that does a lot to make America a safer country, first and foremost, from a national security perspective and, secondly, from an economic perspective.
I know we only have a week left. The Senator from Louisiana talked about trying to get a bill done. Let's get something done. I plead for us to get something done to create some new sources of energy for this country, to put some downward pressure on world market prices. It is essential for us to do so.
We need to make this commitment for the future of our country.